(Adds detail, context)
By Huw Jones
LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The Bank of England will work to
encourage more new entrants in the banking sector as it readies
for post-Brexit reforms after proving resilient during the COVID
crisis, Bank of England Deputy Governor Sam Woods said on
Britain's retail banking sector has long been dominated by
the "Big Four" as HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest are known.
The government and regulators have sought to increase
competition in recent years, but even though 61 new banks have
been authorised in the last eight years, Big Four market share
remains substantial, ratcheting pressure on the BoE to do more.
"A well-functioning and competitive market is one in which
firms can enter and exit easily," Woods said in his annual
Mansion House speech in London's historic financial district.
The BoE will do more in coming years to increase confidence
that firms can exit without disturbing the market.
"A reliably safe exit process is a vital corollary of ease
of entry, as it allows us to be more accommodating to new
He said the banking and insurance sector was robust despite
the challenges of COVID-19.
"Looking across the banking and insurance sectors as a
whole, capital and liquidity positions are strong and
operational resilience has largely held up to COVID and cyber
pressures," Woods said.
Britain is reviewing insurance capital rules inherited from
the European Union, which on Wednesday set out its proposed
amendments to the rules, known as Solvency II.
Woods said he was "cautiously optimistic" a major reform
package could be achieved without weakening capital requirements
or policyholder protection.
(Reporting by Huw Jones
Editing by Gareth Jones and Barbara Lewis)